Chosen to help build the temple
Building a temple is not so easy. Especially when the term temple stands for our own spiritual edifice. In a divine service in Kinsangani, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained how this enterprise can succeed.
Kisangani is a city with well over half a million people in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Until now, no Chief Apostle has been able to visit this region. The current Chief Apostle decided it was time to do so. However, his flight was considerably delayed, and the divine service on Sunday, 22 July 2018 began four hours later than planned. The 4,000 believers waited patiently and were amply compensated.
Chief Apostle Schneider read an ancient word from 1 Chronicles 28: 10 and gave it a modern twist: “Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.” The focus of this Bible text is God’s election and the human being’s collaboration. The Chief Apostle combined these two key aspects as follows. He said that God has chosen us so that we can be reborn out of water and Spirit. “This election is neither based on our merits nor on our abilities.” Nor can it be explained intellectually, he said, but it should make us determined to follow God’s call and help in building His temple.
What is needed to build the temple
The Chief Apostle used the historic event of the construction of the temple in Jerusalem and applied it to today’s believers and Church. The Lord expects us
- to be a temple of God. To this end, divine life must develop in us.
- to gather together with those who worship and praise God.
- to prepare ourselves for the return of the Lord and support each other in this.
- to proclaim the gospel so that other souls can be led to the Lord and the apostolate.
- to make our material and financial contributions to the Church.
Developing the power of the Holy Spirit in us
God gives us strength through the Holy Spirit so that we can contribute to this building programme. It is up to us to take and develop this power, the Chief Apostle said, and revealed how.
- By listening to the sermon and participating in the celebration of Holy Communion.
- By meditating on the word we hear and allowing Holy Communion to have an effect on us. He referred to the literal translation of John 6: 53, where it says that one must “chew” the flesh of Jesus Christ. “This makes clear that we must become fully aware of the significance of the sacrament of Holy Communion.”
- By allowing ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit when praying. “A prayer that is imbued with the Holy Spirit will be answered because it is in accordance with Jesus’ will. This experience will strengthen our faith.”
The effects of this approach
Thus strengthened, the temple can be built.
- The building of our personal temple must lead to a spiritual development. “Are we ready to change?”
- Instead of talking about the good we do and the evil others do, “let us emphasise God’s love for us and for all sinners”.
- The primary task of the church is to dispense salvation. The congregation gathers in order to receive salvation. “Other aspects of congregational life, such as problems with the church building, music, or activities must never become more important than the return of the Lord!” It is not our mission to change the other members, but to support, encourage, and love them as they are.
- “Do we profess our faith in word and deed? People’s opinion of the New Apostolic Church is based more on the behaviour of its members than its doctrine. What image of our Church do we project?”
- For the Church to be able to fulfil its mission, our contribution is indispensable. “By using what God has given us, we show just how important our own salvation and that of others is.”
Working and building on ourselves and actively contributing to the salvation of our neighbour—that is how the temple of God is built.